Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Could your dance and fitness pole be killing you? Are you Asbestos Aware?

RPole Sport Fitness - News

The Hidden Killer
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a natural rock. When crushed it turns into small fibres that look like needles of glass under the microscope. It was used for many purposes until recently as is a very good insulator of heat and electricity, and was used to make roofing tiles, flooring tiles, and added to plaster in textured ceilings such as Artex for many years.
However, we now know that Asbestos is dangerous and the needle-like fibres when inhaled can cause breathing problems and serious illnesses. In the UK Asbestos is no longer used, but many millions of buildings and homes as recent as 1990 contain Asbestos. In homes this is usually found in Artex or textured ceilings which is relatively safe, unless disturbed where fibres are released into the air and breathed in.
How can it hurt me?
Asbestos is only dangerous if the fibres are breathed in and get into your lungs. People who get very ill with Asbestos get an illness called Asbestosis where the fibres get stuck in the lung and can cause a form of cancer, but you have to breathe in a lot to get this. The types and levels of Asbestos found in the home are almost always low risk, and as they are held inside the floor tile or ceiling texture they can’t get into the air unless the material is damaged then there is a risk of exposure.
Spot the odd one out…
Heating and ventilation engineer Plumber Painters and decorator Construction worker Pole Fitness Electrician
It may seem an obvious choice perhaps but ‘Pole Fitness’ is the only one on the list equally at risk of exposure to asbestos materials yet the only one NOT to receive any formal guidance on the dangers of Asbestos.
You can’t see or smell asbestos fibres in the air.  The effects of asbestos take many years to show up - avoid breathing it in now.  Smoking increases the risk many times.  Asbestos is only a danger when fibres are made airborne
But let’s bring the danger of Asbestos into perspective. Asbestos material in good condition is safe unless asbestos fibres become airborne, which happens when materials are damaged… like fitting a pole, or if the pole is loose on the ceiling.

This will only affect instructors and students who fit their own poles at home because commercial premises have a formal duty to manage asbestos under regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006. This would cover studios in sports centres and Council owned venues where they have a responsibility for protecting others who work in such premises, or use them in other ways, from the risks to ill health that exposure to asbestos causes so you are very unlikely to be at risk in these premises, but its always best to ask when hiring.
Asbestos was used in textured ceilings as recent as 1990 in domestic homes and this is where you may be unknowingly creating a danger by fitting a dance pole for yourself or to teach others as you may be releasing Asbestos fibres into the air by disturbing the ceiling. So for more information visit the HSE web site at: and remember if you are unsure about whether certain materials contain asbestos, presume it does and treat it as such especially if your home was built 1990 or before.
Homes built after 1990 ‘should’ be safe – if in doubt get a qualified builder to check out your ceilings.
Here are some basic principles to remember if you are on Instructing or teaching off a floor to ceiling pole;
• If your ceiling contains Asbestos and it is painted and left untouched, it is perfectly safe and will only give rise to potential danger if the ceiling is damaged or disturbed.
• Removing Asbestos is more dangerous than leaving it in place and managing it ie: not disturbing it
If in doubt
• Consider teaching or taking lessons at your local health club where they have a duty of care to ensure your safety – Always check with them before putting poles up
• Use a free standing pole that doesn’t require ceiling or floor fixings, therefore not disturbing materials

Kind permission courtesy of RPole fitness

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